HomeKit Weekly: HomeKit bulbs without a hub? Check out these two products

Philips Hue is the gold standard of HomeKit bulbs, and I am delighted with the ones I own. They’re bright, rarely need to be rebooted to fix a disconnection, and offer many color combinations. On the other hand, they’re somewhat expensive since it requires a purchase of a hub. If you want a low-cost way to switch over to HomeKit bulbs, check out these two options.

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HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Meross HomeKit Bulbs

Meross is becoming a popular HomeKit vendor. They released a HomeKit garage door opener a few weeks back, and I’ve used their outdoor plug for a while to allow a non-smart floodlight to be triggered by my abode door sensor. Their most recent product is a HomeKit LED bulb that doesn’t require the use of a hub. I’ve had a couple of them for the past few weeks, and I’ve been pretty impressed with how they’ve worked compare to my Hue bulbs. They’ve been just as responsive, and I’ve loved the color options it offers.

The Meross bulb allows you to adjust brightness, adjust from warm/cool white (2700K~6500K) to multiple colors. It also allows controlling the brightness using HomeKit automations. I use my abode motion sensor to trigger a lamp near where I have my coffee to around 30% when it detects motion in the morning after 5 a,m. With the cost of a two-bulb pack running over 70% less expensive than a comparable Hue purchase, it’s an extremely low-cost way to get started with HomeKit bulbs. The only negative I’ve found about the product is it only includes 2.4 GHz, and I’d much prefer to use 5 GHz.

VOCOlinc Bulbs

Another brand of bulbs I’ve been using for the past few weeks is the VOCOlinc HomeKit bulbs. Like the Meross bulbs, it comes as a two-pack for significantly less than Phillips’s offers with the Hue brand. It has 850 lumens and supports millions of color variations. It works directly on Wi-Fi, so there’s no need to purchase a Hub to operate it. As long as you have a Home Hub (Apple TV or HomePod), you’ll be able to control them remotely. My bulbs needed a firmware update right out of the box, but that was handled with ease by the VOCOlinc iPhone app.

Wrap up on HomeKit Wi-Fi bulbs

Compared to using outlet adaptors, I vastly prefer using Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs with HomeKit. They offer a range of colors, the ability to dim, and a wide range of automation possibilities. If you’re looking for a low-cost way to replace your non-smart lighting with HomeKit, check out the Meross bulbs and the VOCOlinc bulbs.

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